The Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant employs several local residents and has developed many UAE nationals who now fill a range of management positions at the facility.

Masdar celebrated the second anniversary of operations of its 100-Megawatt Shams 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant in Abu Dhabi’s western region. Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and partners Abengoa Solar and Total built what was the largest solar plant of its kind when it was inaugurated two years ago.

The Middle East’s largest CSP plant, Shams 1 today is operating well and producing clean, sustainable electricity for thousands of UAE homes and businesses. Shams Power Company, Shams Power Company, comprising Masdar, Abengoa Solar and Total, welcomed local schoolchildren for an open house as part of the anniversary, where they toured the facility and learned about solar energy.

Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, said, “The experience we have gained through the successful operation of the Shams 1 solar plant over the past two years has helped position Masdar as a leader in the renewable energy sector. The second anniversary of Shams 1 also signifies our progress to diversify the UAE economy and ensure long-term energy security. Our early investment in this innovative technology is now paying dividends, and we have a high-performance plant that helps meet growing energy demand while providing valuable new skills to the local community.”

The Shams 1 plant has provided consistent, clean and reliable energy to the UAE national grid for two years, enough to power 20,000 homes and divert 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. Spread over 2.5 square kilometres, the plant reduces the UAE’s environmental impact by removing the carbon equivalent of 15,000 cars from Abu Dhabi’s roads each year.

The plant features several key innovations, including purpose-built booster heaters that use natural gas to increase the resulting steam from 380˚C to 540˚C, enhancing the steam turbine’s efficiency and expanding energy production. The CSP plant also uses a dry cooling system to condense the exhaust steam flow, significantly decreasing the amount of water the plant uses compared to a similar facility.

Students visiting Shams 1 had the opportunity to see the solar collectors, control room and cleaning trucks that keep the parabolic mirrors dust-free to ensure optimum energy efficiency. Shams Power Company regularly hosts students to instil in them a spirit of innovation that the UAE government supports to ensure long-term global competitiveness and future energy leadership.